COM Department Then and Now

After attending this year’s COM Studies Day, we have entered into an interesting adventure exploring the difference between the COM department of today and that of years past. Luckily, this author was fortunate enough to speak with both alumni and faculty regarding their opinions regarding the COM department as it stands.

Matt Carter, who graduated from UNCW in 2003, and was kind enough to return to Wilmington to share his experiences, emphasized that the Communication Studies Department has changed drastically since he attended. He said that there are many more courses with specific foci meant to guide students in the direction they wish to move.

Dr. Weber agrees. He reminisced that the COM department used to be a “dumping ground” for students that failed to make it in other majors. It was tough for the COM department to keep undesirable students out of our major until the introduction of the gateway courses. Once COM 105 and COM 200 were implemented as courses that must be satisfactorily passed in order to continue in the COM major the quality of students increased greatly. This new breed of student, according to Dr. Weber, was conscious of future plans and aware of what skills COM Studies provided that would help each student exceed in their next step. With the addition of foci, including public relations and IMC, for the first time the Communication Studies Department was able to compete with the top majors on UNCW’s campus as a legitimate source of a quality education. The final aspect that Dr. Weber mentions as transforming the COM major into what it is today is the addition of what is now known as COM 400. In its early days COM 400 was known as COM 490 and was simply a senior seminar class meant to further the education of seniors on various subjects. Over the course of a couple semesters, this course was morphed into a training seminar, teaching COM seniors how to prepare for and land a job after leaving UNCW.

Finally, I was able to have a discussion with the infamous Dr. Chin, who is known for being in charge of many of the COM Studies Day events as well as teaching the best Advanced PR class this side of the Mississippi. Dr. Chin commented that as recent as the past semester the face of COM Studies Day has transformed with the implementation of social media. This year, models participating in the fashion show were able to promote themselves via facebook and twitter, thus promoting the fashion show and COM Studies Day. Staying true to our teachings, COM Studies Majors were able to plan, promote, and execute an amazing COM Studies Day effectively using social media as a source of communication. We would like to thank all alumni and students who donated their time to make this year’s event a huge success, and we remain forever in debt to those faculty members who spend countless hours and dollars ensuring that we are able to gain the most out of our major.

Leanna Marshall, Leslie Tyler, Julius Roberts, Bryce Koonts